Delphi Programming for Dummies
by Neil Rubenking

Delphi Programming for Dummies
Neil Rubenking
(see also the new edition of this book)
IDG Books
380 pages (softcover) no disk
US$ 19.99

Neil Rubenking has worked very closely with Borland when writing this book. That's probably the reason why this book is among the first Delphi books to ship, and a rather good one too.

This book assumes nothing, only that you've got a computer and copy of Delphi (installed or not - it actually assists in installing Delphi). Neil believes that the best way of learning Delphi is by doing, so a lot of the stuff in the book requires you working at the computer. Not typing long listings of code, mind you, but simply dropping and arranging a component or two on a form, modifying a property or two, writing one or two lines of code, and presto a self-made Windows file editor, Towers of Hanoi puzzle, a database system, DDE or OLE links with other applications and so on.

If you already think this sounds rather complex, don't worry, as Neil will take you by the hand and show you exactly what to do (and what not to do). The book will make sure you get results right away, while you can learn the technical stuff later on - if you want to, that is.

The book is divided in five parts. The first part helps you to install and setup Delphi most effectively, and introduces you to Delphi and the visual programming tools. The second part covers all basic VCL components that are included in Delphi's Component Palette. With a few clicks and keystrokes you learn to write already powerful little programs like a password dialog or a little (autoexec.bat) file editor.
The third part of the book covers all advanced components, which enables you to write even more powerful programs in a snap. Examples are the file, data-aware, DDE and OLE components. All are treated with detailed (and yet easy to build) examples that'll teach you the internals right away. The fourth part of the book (called "Real Programming") introduces some of the ObjectPascal language concepts, as well as the topic of exceptions and debugging.
The final part is more a description of common tips, techniques and pitfalls you can encounter when working with Delphi or programming for Windows in general. This fifth part help you to prepare for potential problems you might encounter in your further exploration of Delphi.

So, that about sums up what's convered in the book. What you will not find in this book are syntax diagrams, exhausive function lists, et al. For these things you can better look for the manuals, on-line help or another more technical book on Delphi (lots of which will be available in a short while, I'm sure). Although the first two or three chapters might be a little slow for experienced Windows or Delphi programmers, I'm sure the last two chapters might even offer these programmers something to learn.

There's no code disk with this book, as most of the code consists of just a few lines that you'll type along the way.

If you want to get up to speed with Delphi now, just get this book and work it through. It will take a few days (from cover to cover), but it'll be worth it. Only by doing you can truly learn the potential of Delphi and its numerous VCL components. Don't let the title fool you, I'm not ashamed to admit I've read this book. At least, I've read it, and now I'm a Delphi Dummy no more

(Bob Swart)

The best-selling "... for Dummies" series of computer books has more than 15 million copies in print, and now I know why! Every IDG book is designed to bring extra value and skill-building instructions to the reader. However, it is the special attention to the little details of the book that make these books worthwhile even to self-proclamed non-dummies. This is my first dummies-book, but I think I'll go out and try some more...

Other Book Reviews...See also new edition

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